My friend Bernadette said that if there were problems with the stall, the goats would let me know. They did. Goats need more than two screws to hold a board in place. Okay, now we know.
The big dog was tied up and started barking like a crazy old thing. Nicholas got up, went to get him in, and found three goats at the end of the driveway, staring at the dog. They had worked their way out of their stall via a loose board and a lot of (I suspect) Tara wiggling, as she is the spryest and most adventurous of the three. The barn door was open for light and air circulation, so out they went into the grassy new world. I grabbed the bucket, dumped in a scoop of grain, and they all followed like little ducklings right back into the barn. I shut them in, although the stall wasn’t secure. There was nothing for them to get into but the hay, and they can have all of that they want.
Nicholas and I went out after supper, repaired the stall as best we could, and secured them inside a bit better. All the doors are locked or braced shut, and once it gets dark, they don’t want to wander anyway.We are headed to the lumberyard tomorrow for more stall materials and the boards for a nice chicken coop.
Although they are new to us, the goats are very trusting and friendly. The buck is now nicknamed “Uncle” after the movie, of course – which I haven’t seen. They are cooperative and easy-going. But they are incredibly curious and seem to have no fear of dogs. Ash wanted to get out and teach them a lesson today, but they haven’t been worked (herded) with dogs, so that will have to wait until we get the fence in place, and Ash has had some review lessons herself. She whined at the door after we shut her inside, and a peculiar whine it is – just for herding. It is different from her “I’m in pain” cry or her “I don’t like this dog” whine or her “where’s my supper?” whine. She is not a vocal dog, usually, but she has her own language. She and I communicate mostly by glance and body language and hand signals (well, my hand signals),and I can read her head feints. I think there really must be some ESP, too.
Nicholas stacked and split wood today, while I ran out to the landlady’s to drop off a load of her mother’s things and to pay our rent. We chatted about farm matters, health, growing lavender (can we, this far north?), fences, the Mennonite market in Centreville, and the porch sale she is planning. She pointed out the rest of our cord of wood which we will pick up during the week. I then went to the post office, mailed our tax returns and a little packet to England, stopped at the garage to check on my new rad hose (lovely) and see when the new tires will be in (Monday by dinner hour – noon.) Nicholas was napping on the couch when I returned. I made him a cup of tea and we ate the rest of the strawberry cobbler I made last night. The fruit was from our landlady. (Store bought this time of year, and she later dropped off apples, an orange and a kiwi.)
After we finished in the barn, we finally had a good chat with our next door neighbours. I have a parish connection to the family, and while the previous tenant here was the neighbour’s aunt, I think they are coming round to having good neighbours (remember the BBC comedy) who will lend a hand, drop off tomatoes from the garden and be available for a cuppa.
We had prayed for this place, the landlady had prayed for us as tenants; we had been praying for a friendly opportunity to enrich our neighborliness – prayers are answered.